- What Process?
Dear [ subscriber ]
In July 2000 we saw the "Soundings" document released
with public consultation being wound up at Christmas 2000. The Joint
Working Group delivered its findings in March 2001. The Minister
assembled a Ministerial Consultative Group to offer him feedback
on draft Ministry Policy Proposals. Minister Pete Hodgson has reminded
us on more than one occasion of the need for good process. Good
process generates good outcomes. Whilst we believe the Minister
is determined to oversee good process we do not have the same confidence
in the Ministry of Fisheries belief for good process.
Here is a summary of 2002. Our score for their "process"
this year is a resounding 0/10 - you make up your own minds.
November 2001 - The Minister of Fisheries delivered
his Cabinet Paper "Recreational
Fisheries Reform" to his Parliamentary colleagues on the Cabinet
Finance, Infrastructure and Environment Committee.
The minutes of that Cabinet committee's decision (FIN Min (01) 2814)
outline the following directives:-
" note that the Minister of Fisheries has requested that the
Ministry of Fisheries work closely with the recreational sector
to develop a specific proposal for reform….invited the Minister
of Fisheries to report to the Cabinet Finance, Infrastructure and
Environment Committee (FIN) on the outcome of further analysis and
a recommended option for public consultation no later than 1 February
2003; agreed that the Minister of Fisheries report back to FIN with
the outcome of public - consultation no later than 1 June 2003."
This Cabinet Paper is the driver of the process. Nothing else. Read
on to see how the Ministry of Fisheries has, yet again, failed to
deliver on process, never mind public good.
December 2001 - The Ministry of Fisheries issue
their draft Consultation
Plan for Recreational Fishing Reform 2002/2003. This outlined
the need to work closely and immediately in order to meet the deadlines
imposed by Cabinet. It also invited feedback, which was duly provided
by a number of representative organisations including option4. This
paper indicated 7 months for work with public sector representatives
and 6 months work time to prepare the Cabinet Paper.
January 2002 - The Ministry of Fisheries issue
their paper "Recreational
Fishing Reform: Action Plan 2002-03" - this acknowledges
the input from representative groups and goes on to outline a process
for the development of the "single option for reform".
This is a must read document.
March 2002 - option4 write to the Minister expressing
concerns about the Cabinet Paper that is the basis of Cabinet
Decisions driving the current process (or non process as the case
may be). Still no word from Ministry of first seminar or background
paper as promised.
April 2002 - The Minister
responds to concerns option4 had expressed about the cabinet
paper. He refuses to discuss any of the concerns raised. He is not
available to meet. He does however state "The Ministry is going
to prepare a public discussion document with some recommended changes
to the management regime and all stakeholders will get the opportunity
to comment on it before I make my decisions. Until this time the
focus is on ensuring that everyone is up to speed to contribute
to an informed public debate" . Still nothing heard from his
May 2002 - option4 writes to the Minister expressing
concern that the process
has stalled - nothing is happening.
June 2002 - Pete
Hodgson responds. He wrote "With regard to the Action Plan
developed by the Ministry of Fisheries earlier this year, officials
inform me that the occasional papers are close to being finalised
and will be externally reviewed prior to being circulated to interested
parties within the next few weeks. I am hopeful that those papers
will provide a useful background context from which to discuss the
options for moving forward." Still nothing heard from the Ministry.
October 2002 - option4 representatives receive
phone calls from a man at the Ministry of Fisheries who states that
he has been contracted by the Ministry to fulfill the requirements
of the 2001 Cabinet Paper , i.e. present the required Cabinet Paper
with the "single option for reform" - on time - (on time
equals 1st February 2003) When asked how this objective could be
achieved given the process and time line outlined in the "Action
Plan" tabled in January, the man from the Ministry claimed
that he was unaware such a document had been issued. This conversation
occurred on 11/10/02. How bizarre - a graphic illustration of how
irrelevant we, the public, are in the minds eye of the Ministry.
The conversation concluded with a confirmation of the firm intentions
of the Ministry to deliver their paper on time. There were questions
as to whether or not any further consultation was in fact required
before tabling the cabinet paper to the Minister.
So here we are in November 2002 - not a written word from the Ministry
to explain delays, no sign of any "Occasional Papers"
or seminar invitation. Simply put, a complete lack of performance
and zero professionalism for some 9 months out of a scheduled process
timeline of 13 months. This is typical of the attitude and manner
of this Ministry. They say the Minister has them doing other work
- the Minister tells us papers were to be released within weeks
- some 5 months ago. Who are we to believe?
Are we to see "a single option for reform" tabled to Cabinet
with no opportunity to have input? Is this a process you feel comfortable
with? The Soundings public consultation process was farcical - the
analysis of response from the public was farcical. Nothing has changed
other than a few spanners in the works of what is obviously a very
predetermined plan by the Ministry to strip us of our rights to
catch our fish and see that every available, unaccounted for fish
is made available to the fishing industry. This is simply not good
enough. These people have to wake up and accept that they are public
servants being paid to serve the public of this country. This Ministry
have long ago lost sight of this fundamental. It is high time they
were dragged into line and made accountable for the series of failed
fisheries, failed processes and embarrassed Ministers they have
left in their wake.
The Minister, Pete Hodgson, has just issued a written invitation
to six people to attend his office on the 16th December to discuss
the process (or lack thereof) with him and his officials. This meeting
will be critical - we don't have much detail to share with you at
this stage. Hopefully, there will be a good minute kept of this
Regards from the team at option4